Friday, April 19, 2019

Vegan Rights in Prison (on the denial of vegan food to a vegan animal rights activist in a Western Australian prison)

This kind of abuse by the state, and its punitive arms, that targets and oppresses those who practise ethical abstention from meat-eating, is of the same order as a long history of oppressions against difference. Unless all of us, no matter what attitudes held toward veganism, stand up for people’s rights to be fed and clothed in a manner that accords with their deep-held beliefs — such as people who object to the usage and exploitation of animals — it is akin to disrespecting different cultural practice or religious belief. It is different, and it is the same. To leave someone to starve because they refuse to eat meat, or foods affected by meat, is a denial of life rights, and will one day be seen as the extreme persecution it is. We stand by this peaceful protester’s rights of choice, and whatever someone’s perceived crimes are, to deny them their rights of conscience is to deny them their humanity. If prisons and authorities treat people like this, it’s on a continuum with how animals are treated. Such deliberate deprivation is hate on a level that all should condemn, whatever their beliefs.

And as for the far-right West Australian newspaper and its aggressive and provocative coverage of the issue — the use of ‘notorious’ and ‘vegan’ in the same article speaks of their agenda of exploitation, violence and oppression.

Here are some links on approaches to the rights of vegans in prison in the UK; the second is a general page at the UK Vegan Society which includes a link to their booklet on providing vegan food for both prisoners and staff.

John Kinsella

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Government and Private Industry Destroy Yet Another Pocket of Bushland in Perth (Kiara)

See Hannah Barry's article on this latest abuse of nature by government and developers in Perth, Western Australia. And my poem in response to this catastrophe:

Deathwish Imposed on Kiara Bushland

Landcorp and the developers
win always in their deathwish

endgame collusion — the killing
off, the erasing to say, This is how

it always was — old growth
just photoshopped into a history

you never had — we give you what
is: dead space to grow our buildings,

‘providing’ you places to live
where orchids and skinks,

singing and calling birds
are written off, out of the image.

Remorseless. Who do they make us?
These self-appointed speakers

for the land that was never theirs?
Housing the spirits of killed flora

and fauna as people will wonder
what it is that’s not quite right

with the air the pollen record
cemented over? Bottlebrush Drive.

            John Kinsella

Monday, February 25, 2019

Another Poem for the Slaughtered Trees on Toodyay Road (just south of Toodyay town)

Seeing an Excavator Tooth-extractor Push Over an Old-growth Wandoo
            On the Road to Perth Just South of Toodyay

Subset of incantatory praise of CAT planet-wrecking machinery —
the 50-ton excavator with range of buckets — shears groomers
grabs skeletons mud rock batter teeth — that will debranch and tear
a trunk will twist to push and rip out the old-growth wandoo

before your eyes as workaday as time sheets. Watch the headstrong
tree pushed over to tilt at planners’ windmills tumbling into gully
and reach for your mouth your maw always that bloody dental
analogy tedious as jawing and mouthing on and on so phobic and gory.

Excavator tracks knuckle by knuckle scallop by scallop levered
forward chain of command steel confrontation with tree flesh
resilience till give — root and nerve sans anaesthetic bare to the gaze
of sadists or maybe just the blithely indifferent. Cruel and clear sap bloody.

Subset of incantatory and cruel as therapy designed to get you back
to work that damages, keep you dulled to pulling and pushing,
tearing teeth from the jawing and mouthing the wordy planet —
induce an illiteracy of presence, an exclamation of pain without

vocabulary. After all, who can speak with a numbed lip anyway?
This CAT-induced literacy of being the excavator that pulls and pushes
as well as digs, this deployment of rough surgical equipment, this grooming
of planet to run roughshod and unmake syntax to realign sense.

Where is this room for finding in a subset of incantatory praise?
Surely there’s room to find a way in and back out via the gap
made by the CAT 50-ton excavator’s work ethic, its showing
the way to what will be — bloody mouth empty of tree-teeth; smiley-faced?

            John Kinsella